Category Archives: bullying

How Melody Hensley is putting the bullies to shame

bully

 

Yesterday, a message arrived in my email inbox with the title “Are you happy to die a virgin,” a somewhat unusual question, I felt, not just because of its faulty premise but also because of its lack of the conventional question mark at the end. The email itself was equally blunt and illiterate:

You sound like a 40 y/o FAT VIRGIN living in a basement rotting away. Is manboobz.com your way of hide behind your own internal issues u refuse to face? Father issues???

Ah, here’s where the missing question mark went, along with some friends.

The sender appended a photo of an extremely obese Asian man at least 20 years my junior, mostly if not completely nude, along with the question (and I quote verbatim) “This this photo you??”

As hate mail goes, this isn’t particularly interesting and original. What got my attention was the sender: it came from the admin account at mensrightsmelbourne.com, an Australian Men’s Rights site taking much of its inspiration from Men’s Rights Edmonton (its website design) and A Voice for Men (its propaganda). So this wasn’t simply some anonymous internet troll sending me puerile hate mail: this is one of Australia’s most visible MRAs.

On the front page I noticed something else: A post with the title: “‘Twitter gave me PTSD’: Woman claims mean comments and ‘cyberstalking’ gave her an illness usually suffered by WAR VETERANS.”

The post – most of which is plagiarised directly from The Daily Mail, including the title itself – is an attack on Melody Hensley, a feminist and skeptic who is the Executive Director of Center for Inquiry in Washington DC. Hensley, who in the past suffered intense harassment from misogynists in the skeptic movement and other assorted assholes, is now facing a second wave of harassment as a result of saying publicly that the earlier harassment had given her Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.

That’s right: she’s being harassed for saying that harassment so fucked up her life that it gave her PTSD.

While much of the most vicious harassment this time is coming, as it did last time, from the misogynist wing of the atheist/skeptic movement, MRAs are jumping on board as well.

The “argument” of Hensley’s enemies? That she couldn’t possibly have gotten PTSD from “mean words” online. Men’s Rights blogger The Native Canadian put it this way:

PTSD from being a feminist on the internet? Yeah I bet she wakes up screaming at night because of all the mean words! Must be hard going day to day with flash backs of your friends being called “femnazi’s” right in front of you! How ever do you handle life? Fucking disgraceful b****. Let’s see her tell that to someone who really knows what living with PTSD is like. …

I’m sorry but I am totally shocked, I don’t know what else to say, other than, is there nothing sacred to these cat lovers?

And that’s pretty much the argument all of them make: based on nothing but their own vague notion that PTSD is a serious thing that only happens to soldiers, they’ve decided she’s a lying “b****” who is trying to steal the sympathy that rightly belongs to men. (Never mind that her comments on Twitter about veterans suffering from PTSD are always respectful.)

As Hensley has made clear, she’s not claiming that a few mean tweets gave her PTSD. On a page she’s set up to help raise money for research into PTSD she notes:

In July of 2013 I publicly disclosed that I had been diagnosed by my psychiatrist with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) due to more than a year of online harassment and abuse. The abuse -including death and rape threats- occurred on numerous websites and via email, phone, online postings, images, and videos.

Is it possible for this sort of harassment to cause PTSD? Well, according to someone who knows a lot more about the subject than me or The Native Canadian or the dude at Men’s Rights Melbourne or the staff writers at The Daily Mail, the answer is a clear yes. Caleb W. Lack, a licensed clinical psychologist and psychology professor who writes a blog called Great Plains Skeptic, and who is an expert on anxiety disorders, writes in a recent post on the Hensley controversy that

Bullying has long been known to have a severe impact on mental health, particularly if the bullying is repeated and prolonged. While research has traditionally focused on youth (as briefly reviewed here), more recent work has examined it’s impact on adults. as well, particularly in the workplace. Research focusing specifically on cyberbullying has found very similar results to “traditional” bullying, in terms of increased risk of depression, suicide, and anxiety. In youth, around a third of bullying victims display quite high rates of PTSD symptoms and rates are perhaps even higher in adults who are bullied.

So, given what we know about PTSD, and given what we know about the effects of bullying (cyber and otherwise) on mental health, I think it’s relatively safe to say that “Yes, you can ‘get’ PTSD from Twitter.” One needs to be careful, though, to be specific about this: it’s the bullying and harassment that could lead to PTSD or PTSD symptoms (as well as depression, increased suicidality, and so on), not anything inherent to Twitter itself. Twitter and other forms of social media are just a new tool to use to bully and harass others, but the underlying mechanisms and the results are the same as if these interactions were face to face.

The internet isn’t somehow apart from the “real world.” It’s a part of it, and actions on the internet have real world consequences. Unfortunately, the internet seems to magnify the power of bullies. But it may also magnify the power of bullying victims to fight back.

Of course, the bullies don’t want to acknowledge that what they are doing is bullying. Indeed, many of the worst bullies in the skeptic and Men’s Rights movements consider themselves “activists” — even though the bulk of their “activism” may consist of nothing more than harassing individuals. That may be part of what is driving the widespread refusal to accept that online harassment can lead to real trauma, including PTSD.

And that may be why the guy at Men’s Rights Melbourne — that is, a guy who sent me a crude, bullying email calling me a “FAT VIRGIN” — felt the need to weigh in on the Hensley’s case, and to insinuate ( in one of the few portions of his post that wasn’t plagiarised) that she’s making it all up.

But on some level the bullies know that they’re bullies. There’s no question that the new wave of harassment against Hensley is driven by one of the central dynamics of bullying — offline and on. Bullies love to pounce on anyone who shows signs of vulnerability, and Hensley’s announcement that she suffers from PTSD is a sign that the first wave of bullying got to her.

Happily, that’s not the whole story. What really seems to infuriate Hensley’s enemies is that she’s not acting like they think a victim should. She’s not shutting up and going away. She’s back on Twitter and responding to critics, because doing so gives her a sense of control over her bullies. She’s taking power away from them.

On A Voice for Men, Dean Esmay tries his best, in a barely coherent post, to paint her as a “professional damsel in distress” who deserves to be distressed some more. But the tweets of hers he reposts aren’t very damsel-like; they’re blunt and direct and they call out bullies by name. And when she posts them she knows she has the support of a lot of people who are as disgusted by the bullies as she is.

And while the bullies fulminate, she’s raising money for PTSD research. Because she’s an actual fucking activist, not a bully with a Twitter account, or a website, or a YouTube channel.

EDIT: There has been a lot of really good stuff written about Hensley and PTSD, particularly on Freethought Blogs. Here are some links to interesting, useful, insightful posts.

How could Twitter possibly cause PTSD? by Stephanie Zwan, documents some of the harassment.

What Melody Hensley Has to Teach You About Professionalism, an older (2013) piece by Zvan

Your Uninformed and Incorrect Opinions About Psychology, by Miri Mogilevsky

A Voice for Me – AVfM and Thunderfoot on PTSD, by Avicenna

PTSD and Me(lody), by Avicenna

Feel free to post more links in the comments!

NOTE TO DRIVE-BY ASSHOLES: If you want to talk about what a liar you think Melody Hensley is, don’t bother trying to post comments here. I mean, you can if you want; it’s just that it takes me a lot less time to throw them in the trash than it does for you to write them.

 

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Attention-seeking manosphere guru Roosh V posts article on “Why You Should Beat Your Kids” [UPDATE: Was it plagiarized?]

attentionseek

So it seems that some Men’s Rightsers and manospherians, reveling in the negative attention they’ve managed to get from the mainstream for some of their more reprehensible postings, have decided to up the ante a bit, posting stuff that’s so deliberately over the top in its despicableness that even some of their readers have been taken aback.

A case in point: A paean to child abuse recently posted on Roosh’s Return of Kings blog. (Let me put a big TRIGGER WARNING on all the quotes from it that follow.)

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A Voice for Men’s head boys reach new heights of narcissistic delusion

They're so happy!

They’re so happy!

Let’s say — speaking hypothetically here — that you’re the head of what is probably the most prominent Men’s Rights website. A major national publication has just done a piece on the MRM. While sympathetic towards many of the issues MRAs sometimes talk about, the piece highlights the misogyny within the movement — focusing particularly on some of the hateful stuff  that regularly appears on your website.

The piece also contains an extended profile of your site’s “Editor In Chief,” which portrays him as someone who, while having a certain charisma, is an angry, paranoid fanatic and a compulsive liar. The piece ends by suggesting that “radicals” like those on your website are doing your movement more harm than good, and notes that those who are doing the real work of helping men in need don’t want anything to do with the Men’s Rights movement.

Well, if you’re Paul Elam of A Voice for Men, you celebrate, because in the midst of all this, the author of the piece calls you “the closest thing the movement has to a rock star.” No, really.

Those interested in the psychology of narcissistic self-delusion may wish to set aside some time to watch the video below, in which the three dudes at the top of the A Voice for Men masthead  — Paul Elam, John Hembling, and Dean Esmay — discuss R. Tod Kelly’s recent piece about the Men’s Rights movement.

I took the time to watch the whole thing the other night — well, to listen to it while playing Candy Crush, to be completely honest — and it is filled with astonishing moments. For those who don’t have the time or psychic energy to listen to the whole thing, I will provide some details below.

The tone of the video is, overall, one of jocularity; three very self-satisfied guys basking in self-praise and talking shit about women they hate.

The two most revealing moments come relatively early on in the more than hour-long video; if you watch nothing else in this video, make sure to watch these.

At 9:25 Dean brings up Kelly’s characterization of Elam as a “rock star.” (Technically, Kelly called him “the closest thing to a rock star” in the MRM, but let’s not split hairs.) Elam responds with some of the least convincing false modesty I think I’ve ever seen; it’s clear he’s pleased as punch. Just watch it.

Several minutes later, starting at about 12:22, the gang moves on to Kelly’s characterization of Hembling as a “superstar.” (Technically, Kelly said that Hembling was “well on his way to being [the MRM’s] first superstar,” but what’s a little hyperbole amongst friends?) Like Elam, Hembling affects a certain false modesty, pretending to be oh-shucks embarrassed by the attention, but he too is bursting with pride.

At one point he makes a reference to a famous line from Monty Python’s Life of Brian — “He’s not the messiah! He’s a very naughty boy!” — suggesting that he may have convinced himself that Kelly has proclaimed him not just a superstar but Jesus Christ Superstar.

Hembling — who is the A Voice for Menner that Kelly portrayed as a fanatic who seems to have more than a little bit of trouble with the truth  — never really addresses Kelly’s accounts of some of his most dubious claims — his story of being confronted by a mob of boxcutter-weilding feminists, which seems to have been a largely peaceful encounter with a tiny handful of activists who did nothing more threatening than taking down some posters; and his story of intervening to stop a rape in progress, which appears to be a complete fabrication.

But, at about 23 minutes into the discussion, he does address — sort of — an infamous old video of his in which he declared that “I … don’t give a fuck about rape victims any more.” Hembling’s explanation is a little less than coherent, and seems to consist of three main assertions.

  1. He did it a long time ago, when he had very few subscribers, and when he didn’t even really think of himself as a Men’s Rights activist, no wait, he probably did think of himself that way.
  2. It was “hyperbolic parody” — a rather strange way to describe an angry video that contains not one element of parody at all.
  3. Evil feminists goaded him into it by calling him a rape apologist.

Despite all this, he doesn’t really renounce or apologize for the video.

Elam, for his part, seems to think that Hembling is being much too apologetic. At about 27:30  he jumps into the discussion, defending Hembling’s video.“We’re not the world’s unpaid bodyguards,” he declares. After mocking 20/20 correspondent Elizabeth Vargas for telling him that she would intervene if she saw a rape in progress, he announces:

I don’t find it particularly hyperbolic for a man to say I’m not going to give a damn about female rape victims any more. They have tons of money, of law enforcement, of special programs funded by government, of social consciousness; schools have Take Back the Night rallies, everything you can possibly think of …

I stand behind John for making that video. I don’t know if I would take it down. I don’t blame him for doing it.

At about 35 minutes into the video, the three move on to talking about some of the women that internet misogynists — some of them Men’s Rights activists, many of them not — have targeted for harassment in recent years, most notably Anita Sarkeesian, known for her videos critiquing sexist tropes in the video games, and feminist “skepchick” Rebecca Watson, who’s been harassed for several years for the crime of once complaining about a dude who propositioned her in an elevator at 4 AM. .

The Daily Beast article touched briefly on the harassment directed at Watson, and AVFM’s contribution to the hostile climate she faced and still faces online; as Kelly points out, Elam described her as a “lying whore” and Hembling made several distinctly misleading videos about her. And while Kelly didn’t mention Sarkeesian, she is apparently going to be a central focus of the upcoming 20/20 story about the Manosphere.

The three AVFMers spout such a bunch of malignant nonsense on the topic of these women and the harassment they have faced that I feel it necessary to quote them at length.

At about 37 minutes in, the three are discussing Sarkeesian when one of them — my notes aren’t clear — brings up a favorite anti-Sarkeesian talking point: that she went onto 4chan to publicize her videos. At this point an indignant Dean Esmay launches into a rant:

Anyone who knows anything about 4chan knows that the whole culture on 4chan is that people love insulting each other, and insulting everything in the popular culture, and you win on 4chan by being the most offensive person. So just by going on 4chan you’re looking for that. You are asking for it. … And I don’t mean that in the “she was asking for it” [sense] but she was!

Aside from the victim blaming, there is one other big problem with this argument: it doesn’t seem to be, you know, true. When I looked into this claim, the only “evidence” I could find was this thread on 4chan in which someone using the name of Anita Sarkeesian promotes her Kickstarter. But this “Anita Sarkeesian” explicitly says that they’re NOT actually Sarkeesian, and throughout the comments they refer to her in third person.

Back to the AVFM video, where Esmay is continuing his rant:

Esmay: And furthermore Anita Sarkeesian had a long history of closing comments on her videos so that no one who wanted to argue with her could rebut her, but amazingly when she started the kickstarter campaign she opened the gates and allowed all the commentary.

Elam: Just a coinicidence, I’m sure, Dean.

Esmay: Just a coinicidence. So anybody who ever had any anger at her suddenly had an outlet. She created a damsel in distress situation for herself.

That’s right. Closing her comments was an act of evil manipulation, leading to pent-up angry dude anger. And opening the comments up was an act of manipulation, by giving the angry dudes an outlet. Because clearly she wanted nothing more than to be harassed endlessly by angry dudes on the internet. Because women totally love that shit.

“But in any case,” Esmay asks,”is there a shred of evidence that that was mostly Men’s Rights Advocatists?”

Yes, he really says “advocatists.”

I don’t know about the “mostly, but there’s certainly plenty of hints that suggest MRAs were pretty heavily involved in the anti-Sarkeesian harassment. Like, for example, the fact that there have been 70 posts about Sarkeesian posted to the Men’s Rights subreddit, many of them receiving hundreds of upvotes and inspiring hundreds of comments of which most can be assumed to be hostile, at least based on the rather large sampling of them I’ve read over the months. And AVFM, while not quite this active on the anti-Sarkeesian front, did run as assortment of its own posts on the subject, with titles like “Anita Sarkeesian and the feminist war on facts” (a bit ironic, that) and “Anita Sarkeesian: still a moneygrubbing liar” (some irony there too, huh?).

Elam, for his part, claims there’s “no shred of evidence” that any of the “supposed threats” that Sarkeesian, Watson, or a particular red-haired Canadian activist AVFM has been fixated on came from MRAs. Well, given that a lot of these sorts of threats are, you know, anonymous, that is a little hard to prove, though when I looked at people making nasty and threatening remarks about the red-haired activist on YouTube I found that (at least in the cases of those I was able to find out any information about them) a significant minority of them seemed to be MRAs or at least regular readers of MRA and/or manosphere blogs  — and/or to be fans of the misogynistic asshole who calls himself the Amazing Atheist, a noxious YouTube personality that A Voice for Men has celebrated and linked to on more than a few occasions.

And then there‘s Elam‘s characterization of Watson as a “lying whore,” a characterization he is more than happy to repeat several times on the video.

At about 41 minutes in, Hembling then tells an assortment of untruths about the now infamous elevatorgate incident that led to years of harassment directed at Watson. Having just had some of his most famous untruths publicly exposed to a national audience, you would think Hembling might want to be a bit more careful about his factchecking. Nope.

Hembling: There was a convention in Ireland I believe, where late at night in the hotel convention center she got on an elevator after being in the bar quite late and someone from the convention approached her in the elevator and said “I think you’re very interesting and attractive and would you like to come and have coffee in my room, which is obviously code for let’s get naked and hump.

[At this point Elam lets out a cackle[

Hembling: Obviously he was drunk, possibly blind drunk.

Elam: [Laughs uproariously] It was Irish coffee.

Hembling: Watson then went online and did a video admonishing the male members of the atheist community, of which she was a part, “guys don’t do that,” and characterized this conversation in the elevator as if it was some sort of great, terrible, frightening threat, and crafted her victimhood out of that, and essentially used that story to launch a professional speaking career on the atheist circuit.

Cool story, except for the fact that Watson actually did none of those things beyond the bit about saying “guys, don’t do that.” Here’s a transcript of what she actually did say, which I found here in about 30 seconds by typing the words “rebecca watson transcript elevatorgete video” — typo and all — into a very helpful internet site you may have heard of called Google. Watson was mentioning how much she had enjoyed talking to everyone after her presentation at the conference

except for the one man who, um, didn’t really grasp, I think, what I was saying on the panel…? Because, um, at the bar later that night—actually, at four in the morning—um, we were at the hotel bar, 4am, I said, you know, “I’ve had enough, guys, I’m exhausted, going to bed,” uh, so I walked to the elevator, and a man got on the elevator with me, and said, “Don’t take this the wrong way, but I find you very interesting, and I would like to talk more; would you like to come to my hotel room for coffee?”

Um. Just a word to the wise here, guys: Uhhhh, don’t do that. Um, you know. [laughs] Uh, I don’t really know how else to explain how this makes me incredibly uncomfortable, but I’ll just sort of lay it out that I was a single woman, you know, in a foreign country, at 4am, in a hotel elevator with you, just you, and—don’t invite me back to your hotel room, right after I’ve finished talking about how it creeps me out and makes me uncomfortable when men sexualize me in that manner.

That’s it. Being propositioned by a guy alone in an elevator at 4 AM made her feel “incredibly uncomfortable.” No elevation of the proposition into a “great, terrible, frightening threat.” No elaborate narrative of victimhood. Just her saying: hey, this makes me uncomfortable. The reaction to these remarks are what caused the Elevatorgate shitstorm, which is evidently still ongoing, as evidenced by Mr. Hembling’s desire to retell the — false — narrative of the evil Watson.

Indeed, Hembling actually thinks that the incident never happened, because Watson never named the dude. And so Watson’s seemingly innocent remarks, at the end of an informal, unscripted video, were apparently part of her secret master plan to take over the atheist universe.

It’s just a story to further this narrative of victimhood that Watson used to launch this speaking career and make herself supposedly famous and important.

Projection ain’t just something they do in movie theaters.

Enjoy your time in the limelight, fellas! You’re really, truly not doing yourself or your ostensible movement any favors. Maybe someday you will realize this. But probably not.

Should gaming be a “safe space” for nerdy dudes who hate women? The Men’s Rights perspective

idiot-nerd-girl-reappropriated-05

I’m back from a brief vacation in Migraineland, and thinking about the ways in which Men’s Rights Activists love to appropriate the language of feminism and other progressive movements, usually in ways that are face-palmingly ass-backwards.

Take this recent discussion on the Men’s Rights subreddit of the dire threat of “fake gamer girls” invading the “male space” of gaming. The generically named guywithaccount sets up the discussion with this post:

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A 12-Step program to help A Voice for Men cure its addiction to hate

I'm pretty sure these guys thought they were a human rights movement too.

I’m pretty sure these guys thought they were some sort of  human rights movement too.

Asha James – otherwise known as TyphonBlue – has taken issue with something I wrote about A Voice for Men, the hate site she has chosen to affiliate herself with. In my post detailing the hundreds of horrendous and disgusting threats and abusive comments one Canadian feminist has received after she appeared in a YouTube video that was heavily promoted on A Voice for Men and other Men’s Rights sites, I wrote that AVFM had only distanced itself in a “superficial way from some of the harassment it has played a central role in unleashing.”

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Register-Her was a Fake “Offenders Registry” Run By Misogynists, Designed to Vilify and Intimidate Women

Register-Her has accused Katherine Heigl of being a man-hating bigot who "endorses male targeted sexual mutilation."

Register-Her accused Katherine Heigl of being a man-hating bigot who “endorse[s] male targeted sexual mutilation” because she appeared in a Funny or Die video.

Register-Her was a bogus “offenders registry” put online by A Voice for Men, a notoriously misogynistic and hateful site that often targets individual women for harassment. Ostensibly a registry of female criminals, Register-Her was clearly intended to harm the reputation of feminist writers and activists whose only “crime” has been to offend those behind the site. These women were profiled as “bigots” alongside convicted murderers and child molesters.

NOTE: As of April 4, 2014, the original site and its individual profiles have been taken down; a new site with an apparently similar purpose  is evidently being built to replace it, but it’s not yet functional. You can see an archived version of the site’s main page, and its list of “bigots” using the Internet Archive’s Wayback Machine, though you’ll need to manually edit the URLs of the “bigots” listed to see the archived profiles. (Replace each %20 in the URLs with an _ .)

Some of the women profiled on the site as “bigots” included:

Actress Katherine Heigl, who was put on the site after making a humorous public service announcement for the site Funny or Die promoting the spaying and neutering of pets. Register-Her charges her with “endors[ing] male targeted sexual mutilation.”

Feminist blogger Jessica Valenti, the author, most recently, of “Why Have Kids?: A New Mom Explores the Truth About Parenting and Happiness,” who was put on the site for several newspaper columns that the site misrepresents in an attempt to show that she is guilty of “an ongoing pattern of anti-male bigotry and advocacy for the eradication of constitutional rights based primarily on sex.” A Voice for Men has also labeled Valenti a “child abuser” for supporting feminist causes, and on one occasion posted candid photos it claimed were of her in an attempt to cause her embarrassment. If you look at the archived version of the site’s main page, you will see a picture of Valenti alongside photos of convicted rapists and murderers, all underneath the headline “Why Aren’t These Women In Prison?” Valenti has not, of course, committed any crimes.

A number of young women who attended a protest against Men’s Rights icon Warren Farrell at the University of Toronto. Register-Her used Twitter Tweets from some of the women, clearly intended as jokes, as evidence of genocidal intentions towards men. In an article on A Voice for Men, an anonymous writer even attacked one of these women for Tweeting a picture of a poster which declared “it is important to have someone’s consent before sexual activity.”

Site founder Paul Elam and other writers on A Voice for Men make no bones about their desire to ruin the lives of their foes. Indeed, the site’s much-referenced slogan is “Fuck Their Shit Up.”

In one post, Elam warned one critic of Register-Her that:

I find you, as a feminist, to be a loathsome, vile piece of human garbage.  I find you so pernicious and repugnant that the idea of fucking your shit up gives me an erection. …

[Y]ou  fucking moron.  Your only real hope is to keep your mouth shut and pretend AVfM and register-her.com does not exist for as long as you can. Because, as you can see right now, anything you say or do will be thrown back in your face like holy water on a vampire.

We are coming for you, and we are coming for all the liars out there that have been ruining people’s lives with impunity. …

You are SO fucked.

Register-Her was clearly a major part of Elam’s program to “Fuck Their Shit Up.” The “registry” was heavily promoted on A Voice for Men, which linked to a number of “featured offenders” in its sidebar – all of them so-called “bigots,” none of them the criminals that Register-Her claims to really be about. A banner ad for Register-Her depicts a bloody knife. The tagline: “TRUTH is the real bitch.”

Elam’s idea of  exposing the “truth” seems to involve publishing photographs and the personal information of his targets, whether these are alleged “false accusers” or simply feminists who have offended him. On the A Voice for Men internet radio show, Elam promised that:

If Mary Jane Rottencrotch out there wants to say that her husband beat her just for the sake of gaining leverage in a divorce he will now have a resource where he can come and post your name, your picture, your work telephone number, your address, perhaps even your route you take to get to work, if you bother to have a job.

While Elam has yet to make good on the threat of posting information on women’s routes to work, posts on A Voice for Men promoting the profiles of so-called “bigots” are filled with threatening language and vague intimations that further information will be revealed. In a post announcing the site’s campaign against the University of Toronto protestors, Elam wrote this about one of his targets:

We have her image and know her general location. We will identify her and profile her activity and name for public view.

We will not stop there, or just with her. And while we will not publish our complete intent, we are dogged in our efforts. …

We have no more sympathy for your agenda of hatred and exclusion than for a plantation owner’s rationale in the Antebellum South for justified ownership of another human being.

A Voice for Men’s posts about the targeted women are also filled with bizarre and hyperbolic accusations. In a post about a college student who had jokingly Tweeted that her “political position” was “kill all men hail satan,” and who in another tweet suggested she might get a tattoo reading “misandry,” one of A Voice for Men’s many pseudonynmous “agents” wrote:

She doesn’t just hate men; doesn’t just want them dead or silenced or marginalized or ignored. She at least entertains the idea of permanently marking her skin with that hatred, like a convict signaling gang affiliation.

“Agent Mauve” makes clear that he hopes to ruin the life of the young woman by putting her on Register-Her:

[T]his will be the beginning of [name removed]’s real legacy; where she can revel in the full and permanent notice of her deeds, and the lesson she is providing to the world about the nature of feminism, and the etiology of hatred. And so that anyone who ever does an internet search on her name again will be aware of it.

So far, A Voice for Men’s campaign against the Toronto protesters seems to be having what one can only assume is the desired effect. On A Voice for Men’s Facebook page, a commenter refers to one of the protesters as an “evil twisted little piece of dogshit,” adding: “I hope she suffers a fatal injury before she can go out and ruin peoples’ lives like she seems determined to do.” This comment earned several “likes” from A Voice for Men’s readers.

In the Spring of 2012, Register-Her was profiled by the Southern Poverty Law Center, a civil rights organization that tracks hate groups, as part of a larger feature on the so-called “Men’s Rights” movement. Writing in the SPLC’s Intelligence Report, Arthur Goldwag described Register-Her’s modus operandus and its effect on one targeted woman:

Elam’s site can be frightening to its targets. In one case, he offered a cash reward to the first reader to ferret out a pseudonymous feminist blogger’s real name. In another, Elam singled out a part-time blogger at ChicagoNow who describes herself as a “vegetarian park activist with two baby girls.” The woman’s mistake was to write about her discomfort with male adults helping female toddlers in the bathroom at her daughter’s preschool. The blogger conceded that she was being sexist, but wrote that “I’d rather be wrong than find out if I’m right.”

After the woman was listed, she was widely attacked on men’s movement sites. “I don’t always use the word ‘cunt’ to describe a woman,” one poster raged, “but when I do it’s because of reasons like these.” Shocked, the “Mommy blogger” took down her original post and apologized for her “demonization of men.”

It wasn’t enough. “You targeted fathers, and just fathers,” Elam rebuked her. “It strikes me that you have never really been held to account for any of your actions in life. It is quite likely that the concept of complete, selfless accountability is just completely foreign to you.” Over at the Reddit Mens Rights forum, another poster fumed: “This entire episode should be a warning to all those male hating feminists out there who believe that they are safe screaming their hate messages on the web. Finally, they are held accountable for their hate messages and finally the rest of the world will find out exactly what type of depraved people they really are.”

That’s hate, and that’s precisely the sort of reaction Register-Her seems designed to provoke.

I encourage readers to link to this piece on their websites, so as to make sure that people understand what Register-Her was really all about.

Man Boobz readers would like to offer support for A Voice For Men’s doxxing victims in Toronto

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A Voice for Men has doxxed another student who was at the Warren Farrell protest at the University of Toronto. Her “crimes,” aside from going to the protest? She posted jokey comments on Twitter and a picture suggesting that it’s a good idea for people to get consent before having sex with other people. The Men’s Rights hate site has pledged to reveal the information of as many (female) protesters as they can find, and place them on Register-Her.com, its phony “offenders registry” which features feminists targeted by AVFM alongside convicted murderers and child molesters.

Readers of Man Boobz, in Toronto and around the world, would like to offer whatever support they can — moral or practical — to the targets of AVFM’s hate campaign. If you are one of the victims, or know how to get in touch with one of them, please contact me at futrelle [[at]] well [[dot]] com and I will pass their messages along to you.

EDITED TO ADD: If anyone has any messages for Sophia, the latest victim, I have a way I can pass them along to her.  Just email them to me, and let me know if you want me to pass your email address along to her as well. Anything you want confidential will be kept confidential.

MRA Videoblogger JohnTheOther, Hypocritical Defender of Doxxing, Doxxes Himself

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This guy, who enjoys outing anonymous college students and making videos featuring his own endlessly talking head, wishes to remain anonymous.

Some months back, I made a post in which I referred to the mysterious JohnTheOther by his real name. I didn’t think this was a big deal, since John — whom regular readers know as the number two man at Men’s Rights hate site A Voice for Men – had previously used his real name, and linked it to his online pseudonym, in various writings of his and on YouTube. But he asked me to remove his name from Man Boobz because, he said, he was being harassed. So, out of courtesy to him, I did.

Now, frankly, JohnTheOther is making me feel like he played me for a sucker, and is making me wonder why I continue to pay him this courtesy.

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A Voice for Men’s Attempts to Find and Publicize the Personal Information of a Toronto Activist Could Threaten That Young Woman’s Safety

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[TRIGGER WARNING: RAPE THREATS]

The Men’s Rights movement has been described by some as “the abusers’ lobby.” I don’t think that’s fair, but there are certainly those within the movement that fit the bill – not necessarily because they themselves are abusers, but because, among other things, they lionize abusers and advocate on their behalf.

In the case of hate site A Voice for Men, there is another way in which the term applies: the “activism” of the site and its followers, insofar as it consists of anything more than self-promotion, often mirrors the actions of abusers – AVFM is known for harassing individuals, usually women, and exposing (or threatening to expose) personal information that could be used to stalk and harm them, in an attempt to intimidate them and other feminists and shut them up. Indeed, the site on several occasions has offered $1000 “bounties” on the personal information of its foes.

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The Amazing Atheist spits on the memory of Amanda Todd [TW: bullying, sexual shaming, self-harm, suicide]

You may have read about the heartbreaking story of Amanda Todd, a Canadian teenager who recently posted a much-watched YouTube video (posted below) detailing the bullying and harassment she’d endured online and in real life. This past Wednesday, she was found dead, the apparent victim of suicide.

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